Over 2,000 'unsuitable' Websites Blocked By Malaysia This Year

Online gambling sites among those blocked

Internet censorship is alive and well in Malaysia, where the government's Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) revealed Friday that during 2016 it has blocked access to 2,407 websites.
MCMC Network Security and Enforcement Chief Officer Zulkarnain Mohd Yasin told local reporters that the MCMC blocked 1,129 phishing sites, 1,113 obscene content sites, 90 offensive sites, 72 menacing sites and three false sites for violating the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998.
"What we did (blocking access) is for public interest and upholds their dignity," the official said. "For example, blocking obscene websites is to protect children from pornography and online child abuse while phishing sites are blocked to protect the public from financial loss. This is preventive action by the MCMC." he said at a media briefing here recently.
Although it is known that online gambling sites are illegal in Malaysia and are among those blocked by ISPs, the official did not provide statistics for this category.
Zulkarnain said the MCMC ordered blocks based on applications from ministries and agencies such as the Health Ministry, Tourism Ministry, Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry and the police.
Reasons for blocks range from fake religious pilgrim tour packages to online gambling and sales of non-certified drugs and cosmetics.
Zulkarnain dwelled for some time on the topic of fake news and rumour in social media, appealing to users to carefully evaluate and questions items instead of blindly accepting them as the truth.
"The public should play their role and co-regulate with other ministries, departments and agencies. Get an official reply from the related agencies rather than from unofficial groups and start spreading rumours and fake news that may cause chaos," he said, adding that government agencies should also respond promptly to fake news by presenting the correct facts as quickly as possible.
"It is important for us to clear the air on false and fake stories immediately. Do not wait for days to counter but do so immediately to avoid false stories going viral," he said.
Turning to parental control of viewing by minors, Zulkarnain urged parents to accept their responsibility, and reminded them that his organisation had joined six Internet Service Providers (ISP) to introduce Parental Control Tools enabling parents to monitor and filter Internet content.
The app has been taken up by around 113,000 users, he revealed.

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